Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ Legal and Policy Vice President Ronald Recidoro said the closure and suspension orders issued against mining operations by former environment secretary Gina Lopez had no impact on the local production of nickel ore.
In a press briefing during the 2017 National Conference of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Friday, Recidoro said the closure and suspension orders were not enforced due to a provision under Administrative Order (AO) 22 or the Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing Appeals to the Office of the President.
“The suspensions and closures did not actually push through because under AO 22, any appeal to the Office of the President automatically stays the enforcement of the decision. So the 23 (mining operations for closure) and five (for suspension), all of them appealed. The decision has stayed and they continue to operate as usual,” he said.
During Lopez’s stint at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), she initially suspended 10 mining operations — four in Zambales, and two each in provinces of Palawan, Eastern Samar, and Surigao.